“Mum, don’t forget tomorrow is Back to School Night” says DK2 and goes to bed.
Lucky him, he gets to go to bed while I battle with guilt, being judged and perks of poor planning as I send emails cancelling scheduled events, so I can attend Back to School Night.
I really had to attend Back to School Night for a series of reasons so the emails had to be sent. It was hard because I hate to let people (or teams) down and both engagements involved Toastmaters where I am an Officer and I really love my TM meetings.
I sent the emails, slept feeling guilty and woke up with more guilt but about noon today, I decided that “it is what it is”, I am a single mother of 4 children and motherhood is a priority.
“How many times will your children make you cancel or reschedule?” asked my conscience – “Well as many times as she needs to show up for her boys” snapped my heart.
Then my brain kicked in – truly motherhood is a priority but there are ways to make scheduling less stressful and be more responsible and dependable. Let me share some of my teeny weeny wisdom:
- Ditch the Guilt: Motherhood comes with responsibilities. Some mothers are able to delegate duties or share tasks with spouses but some (like me) have to do it themselves. Parent activities are not trivial, there are essential for the well-being of children. From P.T.A to Performances to Back to School Nights, a parent’s presence add value and is appreciated by the school and children. The boys were so excited I met their teachers, and we had a good time discussing various teaching styles and teacher’s personalities. As an educator, I know that parental involvement is essential. Attending Back to School Nights prepares me to be an invaluable support during the school year.
- Supportive Team: It is a blessing to have a supportive team at work or in a club/society. I doubt anyone can spend time with me and not know I am obsessed with my sons. From work to my community engagements, my colleagues understand and accommodate my absence as it relates to my children. When I realised I had to cancel my attendance at my Toastmasters meeting, I quickly sent an email to the Officers group and the President’s reply was heartwarming and encouraging. It helps to work with people that understand your responsibilities and challenges offering support and not judging you or criticising your actions.
- When you do show up, DELIVER: As a working Mum, I already know that absences and cancellations are inevitable so I work hard and give my best at work or in clubs I belong too. I do my job/assignments diligently, worthy of accolades. From experience as an employer and an employee, it is exhausting when a person is inefficient and in addition, may not show up. When you are an asset, people tend to be more understanding and supportive.
- Plan Ahead: God knows I am organised but I have 4 sons : 2 in High School, 1 in Middle School and 1 in Elementary school. Oh! One is a HS Senior prepping for College. There are way too many dates in my mind. I am trying my best but things just pop up! Okay, to be honest, I can be a better planner. I should know that Back to School Nights are the week or week after resumption. I should merge the children’s school calendar with my work calendar and plan ahead. I should but I didn’t – its not the end of the world.
- Pace yourself: Before volunteering for any assignment or to work on a project, please check your schedule especially as is relates to your children. Not showing up can affect a project flow or cause delays. A team member’s presence may be crucial for progress. Also, be cautious of your time commitments, parenting requires a lot of time!!!
The travails of a working mother are unending. I stand in awe of mothers who do it effortlessly. Kudos to them and to us who are a work in progress – we shall overcome!
P.S. If you are in Management or leading a team, please be accommodating to the working parent on your team, be extra nice to the working mothers and to the single working mothers-be extra extra extra nice, it ain’t easy.
GUESS WHAT? I have a 2PM meeting with DK1’s counsellor so I have to leave work early tomorrow – pray for me!